At the time, the Black Angus calf lived with her mother on a beef-breeding farm in central New York.
Her life would have followed one of two paths: slaughter for beef at a young age, or use as a “breeding” cow just like her mother, forced to give birth to calves bound for that fate. Everything changed, though, when Rita caught her foot in some flooring on the farm; in her struggle to break free, she lost a sizable piece of her limb.
Typically, animals in these situations face imminent abandonment or slaughter. Few farm owners choose to spend time or money on individuals they see as damaged; it’s simply more cost-effective to replace these animals with healthy ones.